Interview conducted November 6 2021
Interview published November 14 2021
"It's not a job, nor a hobby. Well, it's actually
both, but it's far greater than that."
Metal Covenant got some time with bassist Andy
Christell and vocalist/guitarist Conny Bloom
of Swedish rockers Electric Boys as they played in their hometown Stockholm
in early November.
Tobbe: You guys have been able to play already
about a dozen gigs this fall and describe the feeling of being back again.
Andy: It's absolutely amazing. I think the first
one was in Höganäs. There were still restrictions, but it
was an outdoor gig and the restrictions were starting to ease up a little
bit. It was like "I won't believe this until we've done it.".
Even on the same day I was like "What if
they cancel again
", because there have been so many gigs
that have been postponed again and again. So it's really great. And
people that are coming down to the gigs are really happy that things
are finally starting to run again.
Tobbe: So does it feel like you're kind
of back to the beginning of 2020 now, or is there still a bit to go to
get to that point?
Well, both, I'd say. There are still some people who are a little bit
anxious and have some doubts and haven't gotten back into this, you
(Andy:) Well, it's understandable. People have
purchased tickets and it keeps getting postponed over and over again,
so I understand that people are like "Will it take place this time,
or what?". But this is something that we thought was never going
to happen. You know, that we wouldn't be allowed to do this. So we appreciate
it more than ever, for sure.
Tobbe: Personally, when you listen to your
older music or your first idols' music, do you feel some kind of nostalgia
in those situations?
Conny: I can feel it when I listen to certain
records that we listened to when we were young. It's like when you're
seeing a photo, or stepping into a staircase and there's a certain scent,
then it's like moving through time. So there I can get the feeling of
it, like "Wow! This is powerful!", but then it goes back to
those things that meant a whole lot back then.
(Andy:) In terms of our own records, I know that
when we did the 25th anniversary for Funk-O-Metal [Carpet Ride, 1989],
for the first version of it, then I sat down and really listened to
the record, which I hadn't done for years and years, and then I felt
something, like "Aha! Oh yeah! Like this
I got some kind of vibe of, and memory of, how it was back then when
we were young and made this record.
But apart from that, for our music, I wouldn't
say that I am able to feel that. It's more when I listen to other people's
Tobbe: And as you listened to this old record,
did you feel like "Oh, did I play it like that?" and "Today
I play the songs like this."? Was there a big difference on your
Andy: Not a big difference, but a small one.
We talked about that, like "Over time we have changed stuff"
and some things we thought were better, but with some stuff it was like
"Oh, wait a minute. The original stuff is actually better than
what we do now.". Because you change, and you want to develop stuff
all the time, you know. We're very much like that, and not nostalgic
really, but we think that we want to move things forward.
Tobbe: You have put out more records since
the reunion than what you did in the late '80s and in the '90s.
Conny: Yes, and we have kept together for a longer
time too. The first round was about 6 years long and now it's well over
10 years. But we haven't been so productive and I think it has taken
a bit too long between the records. You know, first it was 6 years and
then we put the band to rest, and then we reunited, but in the time
that we have in fact been a band so to speak, we haven't been so frequent
with record releases.
there are many reasons for that though, and one thing is that we have
such great expectation on ourselves. So we kind of collect a lot of
song ideas and then they have to live up to our own desires, or requirements,
or whatever, so sometimes it takes time. I don't know, but now from
this last record [Ups!de Down. Out April 30th 2021], it feels like we've
picked up the pace and have become more efficient. So I believe we will
become more frequent with releases from now on.
I mean, I want to have a record out once a year.
And we have never done that, but it has been a couple of years in between
them, or, well, 3 or 4 years.
Tobbe: Is it perhaps kind of annoying that
no matter how good the last 4 records are, a large part of your audience
will still think that the old records are the best ones? You know, maybe
because they aren't so familiar with those newer records.
Conny: I actually don't feel like that. The last
albums have been very much appreciated live. On these records we have
built new fan favorites, that people are singing along to, like Angel
In An Armoured Suit for example. So that's not the way I perceive it.
(Andy:) And fans are coming up and, with total
honesty, say that The Ghost Ward Diaries  and now also the latest
one are among the best we've made, even though they like the old stuff
too. They say, like, "Well, the old ones will always have a special
place in my memory.". So when we play those songs no one is complaining
about us playing too much new material, which is really great. And there
are also fans that have recently discovered us, and not in 1932, you
know. So we play a mixture of old and new songs.
The problem is rather that we try to put together
a set that isn't 3 hours long. There are certain songs that we feel
that we need to play, for our own sake and for our fans, and then we
try to shake it up a bit with songs from different records and try to
squeeze them in there.
Tobbe: A part of the reason that I ask is
that your audience is getting older and older, and quite a few people
may be a little too lazy sometimes to listen to new stuff, really.
Conny: Well, you've got to respect that as well.
A lot of our fans don't pick up the record in the very first minute,
nor do they listen to Spotify, you know. They dig us for what we did
in the past, firsthand, you know. And that's the way it is. We're just
really lucky that we have those fans.
You want to take things forward because you're a creative person who
is trying to create something new, but at the same time trying to respect
the old stuff. You just try to build a whole, you know. If I go and
see bands, and there's a band that I have dug for a long time, and who
still are trying to make good music, then I wanna hear those songs as
well because I just want to see a good gig.
That's what's most important, that it's great
as a whole. And if you don't get to see your favorite song that specific
night; well, that's just the way it is.
Tobbe: How do you look at keep doing this
for a long time still? I mean, putting out records and play live for far
longer than normal people who get retired.
Conny: Well, this is life, you know. It's as
simple as that. It's not a job, nor a hobby. Well, it's actually both,
but it's far greater than that. This is life, this is how it works.
It has been working like this since, you know, I started playing, at
least in my mind. Then it took a while for everything to get started.
But, you know, I dropped out of school after
9th grade and it didn't take long until I was out playing gigs. And
then things have gone up and down, but I have, you know, done it. Unless
I get rheumatism or something like that there's no reason to stop playing
because this is what's most satisfactory to me.
(Andy:) I totally agree. It's just something
you do. It's the world's greatest psychologist; playing music, you know.
In every way. It's fun. If you feel bad, you know. It's something you
just do all the time, so I agree.
Tobbe: When you now look back on your Hanoi
Rocks days [2004-2009], do you see them as fun and happy days, or do you
sometimes see them more like worse and dull times, if you see what I mean?
Andy: No, of course it was fun. You know, we
have known them all the way back since
[Pondering] When the hell
was it? '82, '83, '82? ...when we had a band with the first drummer
of Hanoi Rocks, Gyp Casino. So that's why we started playing with them
later on. It was just fun, at least a major part of it.
(Conny:) It was quite chaotic. But that's how
it is with every good rock band. There has to be some tension, you know.
(Andy:) But we had no problems; we just
had fun. I still like them, really. We meet them when we can. Last time
we were in Helsinki we hung out with Andy [McCoy] and he was up on stage
doing a guest appearance with us, and when Mike [Monroe] is in town
we meet him, you know. The same with the other guys too. And Sami [Yaffa]
is with Mike too now, so. And Nasty [Suicide] we met in Helsinki. So
I was thinking about doing that for a year or
so, but it eventually became 4,5 years, and we wouldn't have stayed
for so long if it wasn't working or if it wasn't fun, you know.
Tobbe: Before we finish this I just have
to ask about that song you guys did with Svullo over 30 years ago. How
did that materialize? What made you guys do that song? It was quite far
from your style of music. [Micke Dubois, a.k.a. Svullo, which translates
roughly into Fatso, was a Swedish comedian born in 1959 and dead in 2005,
who made a song in 1989 together with Electric Boys called För Fet
[Mostly known as För Fet För Ett Fuck, which translates into
Too Fat For A Fuck.]]
Andy: We had seen him do Captain Freak, long
before there was stand-up comedy in Sweden, and we thought he was extremely
funny. Then a guy at our record company introduced us to one another
because he had heard that Micke liked our band. (Conny:)
And it was Micke's idea, like "I wanna make a song with you guys.
Can't we make a song together? I dig your funky style.". He had
been in a competition playing air bass, doing funk bass, you know.
(Andy:) And we had really fun together. We recorded
the song and then everything went super fast, you know. In no time,
you know. We made a video, running around with Uffe Malmros, who is
now a well-known director. We just drove around town. What you see in
the video is what happened that day; during one day. A lot of stuff
just happened. It was great fun. (Conny:)
We just fooled around with the circumstances; what took place in that
moment, you know.
Tobbe: So a final question, in the same
subject. In what way did this affect the band in general to make that
song? You know, the aftermath of it.
Conny: To begin with it went so huge right at
that moment, but to us it wasn't so big. We thought it was a really
fun thing to do and especially in those days we liked to do a little
weird stuff, and kind of to surprise, and to be a bit crazy, you know.
We had seen him, like Andy said, and it was kind of like Jackass, but
a long time before that, and we were like "Who the hell is this
lunatic?", so when this thing appeared we just had to do it.
So, again like Andy said, things went fast, and
then we went back to America. You know, we had the song [All] Lips N'
Hips, and Billboard, and a lot of other stuff. Then suddenly fax messages
came in telling us that we were topping the charts in Sweden and we
said like "What the hell is happening? We are saying för fet
för ett fuck. We can't be in first place.". But it did, and
then it became huge.
And during that whole time we weren't even in Sweden, whatsoever, but
we came back in the summer to do a tour and everything was just hysterical,
you know. We were out having dinner, because he was our special guest
for I think 2 gigs, for instance on the one that was filmed, that is
out on the web, in Eskilstuna, and he wasn't left alone for one second,
and then we understood how huge it had become.
But it's funny that we weren't even in Sweden
when that whole thing started to happen, but we were in the USA and
recorded an album and stuff, you know. But of course it was fun. You
know, we did our thing still, but it was great for Micke because we
love him. He was a really great dude, he was really kind, and we had
great fun together. So it was great for him, as well as for us, you
(Conny:) But to your question, how it has affected
us now. It still happens that people don't know who we are, but then
someone says "För fet
", and then they will go "Oh
yeah!". So if they don't know who we are, then they at least know
about that song. But that's not so peculiar, because it topped the charts
and those songs become kind of household stuff.
(Andy:) And it becomes bigger than us. It kind
of has its own life. People maybe still party to that song and are just
having a great time and barely think about that it's Micke. They probably
just think it's funny, because it is really funny. It's a groovy, funny
(Conny:) I think it's a great song. I don't hear
it so often now, but when I hear it it's so great, you know. If someone
asks us "Can't you play that song?", we go "Not a chance!".
Micke is the one who makes it funny. We can play the riffs, but we can't
play his parts. So that's long gone. But I'm just happy about it. It
turned out to a great thing.